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Mountain Biking the highlands

East Iceland Explorer

Example 7 Day Tour
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This active yet easy-paced tour of East Iceland is designed to incorporate the culture and history of the rural Icelandic lifestyle while at the same time maximizing wildlife encounters through activities that get you outside exploring this remote and beautiful region. Hike popular regions such as Hafrahvammagljúfur Canyons and Stórurð. Experience various opportunitites to spot wildlife such as wild reindeer, puffins, seals, and a variety of other birdlife. Spend the night in an old farm turf house, sleep in a 'living' museum, try your hand at trout fishing, cook with the locals, mountain bike the highlands, and ride the unique Icelandic horse. Learn about the highlands lifestyle, hear old stories, and experience the isolated Iceland of the East. Finish your week with a dip in the Lake Myvatn geothermal area hot springs.
Hengifoss Waterfall hike and horseback rideThe old cablewayWild Reindeer in the highlandsHiking the highlands regionReykkofi turf houseThe old Farmhouse at Wilderness CenterPuffins can be found in the East FjordsWilderness Center in SummerHiking the vast wilderness near VatnajokullExhibits about the former days in rural IcelandMountain Biking the highlands
  • Tour main attractions such as Vatnajokull, Husey, Lake Myvatn, and Godafoss
  • Spot wildlife such as reindeer, puffins, seals, and other birdlife
  • Encounter rural Icelandic culture through cooking and unique overnights
  • Get active hiking, biking, and fishing in this remote wilderness region
Places Visited
  • Arctic
  • Europe
  • Iceland
  • Akureyri
  • Reykjavik
  • Borgarfjörður Eystri
  • Egilsstaðir
  • Eyjabakkar
  • Hafrahvammagljúfur
  • Hengifoss
  • Husey
  • Lake Myvatn
  • Laugarfell Highland Hostel
  • Modhrudalur
  • Sænautasel
  • Stórurð
  • Wilderness Center
Activity Level: Easy Active
Moderately active but not overly strenuous. This level includes activities like casual cycling, yoga, or excursions/activities that typically last 3-5 hours total each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Reykjavik

Arrive to Reykjavik this morning and transfer yourself to your hotel in the center of downtown Reykjavik. Drop your luggage at your hotel and set out to explore the city on your own this first day and rest up after your long travels. Check in and spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. You can opt to visit Blue Lagoon spa for a relaxing soak in the hot springs, or explore the city at your own pace.

Day 2: Fly Egilsstaðir | Hengifoss | Wilderness Center

This morning you transfer yourself back to the airport for your domestic flight on to Egilsstaðir in East Iceland. Here you are met by your guide and set out for your first destination, Hengifoss, one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland. Hike about an hour from the parking lot to the waterfall in your quest to spot this beauty, seeing the smaller Litlanesfoss along the way which is surrouned by high basalt columns.

After the hike enjoy a lunch buffet at the Skriðuklaustur manor house exhibit. This museum is located near the site of a 15th-century monastery. Continue on to the Wilderness Center, located near the northeast edge of the large Vatnajokull National Park wilderness area. Settle into your rooms that appear almost trapped in time. Take a short ride this afternoon to the abandoned farm of Kleif which offers beautiful surroundings and a glimpse into the old lifestyle. You can also opt to hand winch yourself across the Jökulsá River by traditional cableway. Travel on Icelandic horseback for this tour if you would really like to try your hand at it. These horses are world renowned for their five gaits. This evening your food is served in the cozy and authentic dining area at the Center. The kitchen operates as an open kitchen, so you have the chance to see how things are prepared and learn from the locals some secrets to Icelandic cuisine.

Day 3: Walk Jökulsá River to Laugarfell Highland

Enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning and take some time to tour the exhibits at the Wilderness Center that tell the stories of the past in the region. Here you can see both indoor and outdoor exhibits designed to give you insight into the history of life in this wilderness area. Today you set out to walk along the Jökulsá River for about six hours towards the Laugarfell Highland. The river has multiple waterfalls along the way, and is one of the country's few rivers with such a drastic vertical drop (600 m) in relatively little distance (30 km). Follow the marked trail passing waterfalls and walking through birchwood and canyons to the Laugarfell Highland Hostel. Once here, relax in the hot spring after your journey and settle in to spend the night with stories about the local lore.

Day 4: Hafrahvammagljúfur | Eyjabakkar | Mt. Biking

Today you pack up and set out for a drive along the highlands to the huge canyons of Hafrahvammagljúfur, a dark and imposing canyon with stunning views. Take an easy sightseeing hike by the canyon and keep your eyes peeled for reindeer in the area. Bring your cameras and take photo stops at some of the most picturesque locations such as Sanddalur Valley with vivid colors and stone formations and the Eyjabakkar wetland area which is internationally protected and teeming with wildlife. Here you may be able to spot pink-footed geese, reindeer, and a diverse range of vegetation. The Vatnajökull ice cap and Mt. Snæfell also create a stunning backdrop for any photography here. 

This afternoon change gears for a more adventurous activity! Spend three and a half hours mountain biking down the mountain and observing amazing views over the rivers, cliffs, and grasslands here. Finish up by arriving back at the Wilderness Center and settling in for the evening.

Day 5: Kelduá River Fishing | Borgarfjörður Eystri

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set out fairly early today for a fishing excursion to the Kelduá River located in a hidden peaceful valley. From here you can opt to go in search of the world-famous river 'monster' of Lagarfljót. Enjoy a pot of coffee and lunch at the lake and hear stories of the 'monster' as well as proposed scientific explanations for the peculiar sightings. 
After lunch drive to the popular Borgarfjörður Eystri, a beautiful fjord along the eastern coast. Hike in the Stórurð area near Mt Dyrfjöll on the way before arriving to the fjord in search of puffins to photograph. Spend the night this evening in a guesthouse in Borgarfjörður.

Day 6: Húsey | Sænautasel

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set out north this morning and visit the black beach in Húsey. Here you have the chance to admire some breathtaking landscapes teeming with birdlife and seals. Enjoy lunch in Egilsstaðir before you head further north to the highland farm Sænautasel. This is an old turf farm which is still very much trapped in time and is very similar to the setting in one of Iceland's most famous novels. Enjoy dinner here followed with an evening of singing and entertainment before you receive special permission to spend the night in one of the old turf houses, sleeping dorm style as if you were sleeping here nearly 100 years ago.

Day 7: Möðrudalur | Lake Mývatn Nature Baths | Akureyri

  • 1 Breakfast
The last day you head further north to Möðrudalur and admire its beauty with the view of Mt. Herðubreið and hear local tales about the hilarious artist Stórval. After lunch stop by an old mountain hut near the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River for more stories about the character of a classic novel Advent by Gunnar Gunnarsson. The protagonist, Mountain-Bensi, used to wander into the wild in all kind of weather looking for stray sheep. Next arrive to the the geothermal area by Lake Mývatn, whose mountain scenery is unique and stunning, as most of it was formed by sub-glacial eruptions. Take a dip in the popular Nature Baths hot springs to relax before your journey this evening. Continue on with a brief stop to see Goðafoss Waterfall, one of the most spectacular in Iceland. You finally arrive to Akureyri around 6 pm tonight in time for your red-eye flight home.


Fosshotel Baron

Historical Rooms with lofted ceiling
Treats at the bar
Historical Room

Wilderness Center

Icelandic cooking in the Wilderness kitchen
Wilderness Center in Summer
Wild Reindeer out the window

Laugarfell Highland Hostel

Common area at Laugarfell
Dormitory at Laugarfell
Hot Spring relaxation time

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Rates based on Icelandic Krona and may be subject to change due to currency fluctuations.

Rates may vary based on current exchange rate.

  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
  • 6 Nights Accommodations
  • 6 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Internal Flights - Reykjavik - Egilsstadir
  • Sleeping Bag - Required to bring your own


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.


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